Makers Monday Interview with The Brothers Crisp
Our #PitchNight, an open call for designers and makers, introduces us to some inspiring stories. Take recent discovery, The Brothers Crisp, New England based boot makers that craft pairs by hand. As founder Joshua Westbrook explains, “The Brothers Crisp is about taking the beautiful tradition of hand sewing shoes to new places. We want cool to be synonymous with quality.” Because this is an example of how they’re making it like they used to, we asked Jeff to share what it means to be an American maker.
What’s the story behind Brothers Crisp?
I’ve always been a maker at heart, but I wanted a challenge. Inspired by my friends at HARDENCO (Hartford Denim Company) who started a denim and cut sew business from scratch, I became obsessed with the idea of creating my own take on hand sewn shoes. Following the old New England tradition, the hand sewing is done, stitch by stitch.
What goes into each shoe?
Materials: We source our leathers from the finest tanneries in the world. For us the focus always on quality and responsibility. Equipment: Many of our machines are relics of an era when shoemaking was a massive industry in New England. The machines that were manufactured then are still the very best. They are older than all of us and will probably outlive most of us as well.
What does being a maker mean to you?
Being a maker is about being in touch with the essence of what makes us human. Looking at a pair of boots that we made with our own hands makes us extremely proud, but getting lost in the process is cathartic and instinctually rewarding. Shoes are a very basic need for survival and being able to express ourselves through such an essential element is a gift.
Who inspires you?
All of the hand sewn shoemakers that paved the way for us: Rancourt, Quoddy, and Russell Moccasin. Our good friends at HARDENCO that let me see first hand that hard work could turn ideas into reality. Makers are everywhere, people that work hard day in and day out to make the everyday things we use and the artists that inspire us, people that cook amazing food, and build and maintain the infrastructure of our society.